On Trend: How To Wear A Matte Lip

Michael Brown

Beauty Expert

Over ten years ago when working for a large cosmetic house, a matte lipstick range came out with a two-step process. It was not only complicated, but after an hour or so of wear, your lips were so dry, everyone wanted to get the lipstick off! I thought Matte Lips were doomed forever.

However, they stayed. And yes, I love them. But they are not for everyone, and your lip condition needs to be A+ for it all to work in your favour.

Taylor Swift Matte Lip

Why go Matte?

Well matte lipstick basically lacks shine. They usually have full pigment and are very long lasting in colour wear.

As a makeup artist, I love the block colour effect they give, and if applied with your fingertip, they are great to dab lightly for a hint of colour, like a stain.

Because of the rich, true colour and long lasting effect, this means less touch ups; perfect for the gal-on-the-go. And now that matte lipsticks are more comfortable to wear than they once were, they have become extremely popular with todays demand for quick and easy colour application.

The downside?

Matte lipsticks contain no oil and shine, therefore if your lips are thin, or just very dry, the pigment can catch on this dryness. This means there is no light reflection, with less of a plumping effect than that of cream or shine lip colour.

Whilst most women want less touch ups, some love the soothing cream feel on their lips. And if you naturally have chapped lips, a matte lipstick can emphasise that concern.

It’s all about the Prep!

I personally love the full colour effect of a matte lipstick and use them on many clients, but I always apply a great lip nourisher before application, so lips are plump before applying the pigment. Mature women with thinner lips will not get as much volume from wearing a matte lipstick, but you can always add a touch of gloss or balm, just in the centre of the mouth, to get the best of both worlds.

Think of foundation being applied onto the skin; it needs a great surface to bond too. It’s the same with lipstick, but especially matte lipstick!

Prep Steps:

Step 1: When in the shower and using a face exfoliant, very gently, in small circular motions, apply to your lip. This renews and removes any dead skin on your lips. A smooth surface is key for success with matte lipstick.

Step 2: Once out of the shower, straight away apply a lip conditioner or balm, so it has time to plump and nourish the lip before lipstick application. If shine or residue is still present at the time of application, gently dab off with a tissue, as matte lipsticks wont hold as well with shine already on the lip base.

My fave lip conditioner is from Lanolips: totally nourished and feels great on the lips. (RRP $13.95)

Lanolips 101 Ointment


Now that our lips are prepped, they should be smooth and plump enough to accept the matte lipstick texture perfectly. We don’t want any cracks showing now!

Matte lipstick is immediate, full pigment goodness. It can really dress up a look in seconds: from drab to fab!

For this, I like to stain the pigment onto the lip, using my ring fingertip.

The fingertip is round/curved, so when applied in a dabbing motion, it can really press and bond pigment to the lip, whilst keeping a nice full, plump shape. Especially for the top lip, which can sometimes be undercut when applied with a lip brush. We don’t want a harsh outer lip line.

Once pigment has been stained onto your bare lip, the colour is locked in.

Either choose to wear colour just as is, or for a more polished look, apply a lip liner to outer lip edge after application.


Applying a lip liner before lipstick only creates a barrier. Lipstick then cannot bond and stain, as it will only be sitting on top of your lip liner.

I always apply lipstick first to colour bond to your lip, then if needed, lip liner is used on the outer edge only.

The Look

Because matte lips are rich in full pigment, most of the looks with matte lipsticks are quite bold. They become the feature of the makeup look.

You can of course get matte lipsticks in nude tones, but I feel a nude matte can look quite dull, as it gives no colour to brighten. So unless you have full colour on the eyes and cheeks, I wouldn’t go there. Creamy nudes work best.

Matte reds, pink, orange and even plums work best and because all are quite striking. But when applied, your eye makeup needs to balance. There is always one focus on the face and a matte red lip for example, would definitely be that focus.

The beauty of a matte bold lip is that you can literally wear some bronzer on your eyelid, mascara, bronzer as blush/contour all day, add the matte red lip and boom! Your whole look has upgraded and you are ready to rock!

Choose neutral tones on the eye and either smoke them up or apply a winged liner look to keep it classic and let your matte bold lip do the talking.


Applying a little highlighter to the top lip’s peaks (cupids bow) before lipstick application will attract light and give extra pout and volume.

I love these matte lipstick looks. Eyes are there, but the lips are the focus!

Katy Perry Rihanna Taylor Schilling Matte Lips


I love the Nars Pure Matte Lipstick (RRP $40) in Carthage.

Nars Matte Lipstick Carthage

Full, fun, playful colour every time!

For punchy colours, including my go-to matte red, ‘Stilletto’, you can’t go past the ModelCo Party Proof Matte Range (RRP $18).

ModelCo Matte Lipstick Stilletto

Fun, quick, easy colour. The joys of matte lipstick!

Pucker up ladies and cheers to the weekend!

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